“This was a tricky story to tell…”
~ Under the Covers

I have fallen completely in love with the sci fi romance genre, especially when there are aliens involved. But, you don’t often find romances where both the hero and heroine are aliens. V.C. Lancaster breaks the mould with The Guy Next Door as we see the love story of Kez and Bia. If you have read this series you will recognise Kez from The New Guy as the hero’s grumpy best friend. Bia is Kez’s bubbly and irritatingly cheerful next door neighbour who seems determined to befriend him.

This was a tricky story to tell, it touches on issues of racism and cultural identity which you can easily be applied to the world today. Kez is a mixed race character, his father is from the Balor the race on Teiss that subjugated the Balin, his mother’s race. As a bi-racial child he wasn’t accepted by either culture and was forced to find his own way to survive. It has left him with a deep self-loathing of both sides of his cultural identity. He was not a happy chap, and as much as I understand and sympathise with his issues it was hard to see his constant self-sabotage and, if I’m honest, his woeful thoughts.

Bia is younger than Kez and although is Balor, she was raised by a Balin woman. However, she left Teiss when she was a child and has spent most of her life on Earth. Like Kez, she isn’t accepted by either the Balor or Balin. Unlike Kez she’s bursting with life and optimism and wants to enjoy everything Earth has to offer. I thought I would find her incessant cheer irritating, but whilst I was reading I found I really liked her. She was a great foil to Kez’s doom and gloom. I couldn’t quite understand why she was determined to win Kez over when she was continually, and rudely, rebuffed. But, I think it told a sad tale of how other Teissians were treating her.

Overall, this wasn’t my favourite romance in this series. It did a great job of exploring both the Balor and Balin societies and how they have settled on to Earth and how the old prejudices had travelled with them. But, I think Kez and Bia’s romance seemed a bit lacklustre in places and it was only towards the end that I started enjoying their relationship. I think this book may have benefited from seeing some scenes from Bia’s point of view. It would have helped the reader’s understanding of why she was so determined to have Kez. Plus, it would have added a vivacious spark of her personality, which would have been nice after spending so long in the Kez’s head.

This is a great series, I enjoyed this book and look forward to seeing what Lancaster has in store for us next in this series.


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